The Stars Dance Again

lemon and vanilla stars || cityhippyfarmgirl

lemon and vanilla stars recipe || cityhippyfarmgirl

Soon our school will be holding it’s annual school disco again. Flicking through my archive of short stories, I was reminded of this post. That little almost convulsing dancing boy I still see in the playground from time to time. He’s bigger now and probably doesn’t even remember that intense dance-off he once did. I did though, and it still gave me a chuckle just reading about it.

In honour of school disco’s and the joy of uninhibited dancing, I made a few more of those dancing star biscuits.

lemon and vanilla stars simple recipe || cityhippyfarmgirl

 lemon vanilla stars

200g softened butter

150g sugar

2 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 tsp lemon rind

225g plain flour

squeeze of half a lemon

Cream butter and sugar, add vanilla and lemon. Then mix through the flour. Roll between two sheets of baking paper, and chill a little in the fridge.

Cut out stars and bake at 170C for about 15 minutes.

This dough also freezes easily into a log, just cut off rounds to bake as you need them.

school disco essentials…surely

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Rose and Pistachio Biscuits (and knowing when to outsource)

rose and pistachio biscuits || cityhippyfarmgirlrose and pistachio biscuits || cityhippyfarmgirl I’ve always felt a little guilty at out sourcing my mum’s Mothers Day gift when I was 9 years old. As she unwrapped the very special puffy coat hanger I’d selected for her, she asked with impressed (and clearly overwhelmed with love for her talented daughter) eyes.

Did you make it?!

Er no… I said a little awkwardly, (visibly watching my mothers overwhelmed with love feeling quickly deflate) Ginny did.

You see, I’d spent my hard earned silver coins on a puffy coat hanger that my friend had made. Which I had then bought for my mum on Mother’s Day. Sure I could have made it, but I didn’t. I’d outsourced.

Now while my puffy coat hanger buying days are probably behind me, the odd bit of outsourcing isn’t, (especially if it’s someones lovely recipe to be made.)

I’d had been thinking about the combination of rose and pistachio for a little while but it hadn’t gone any further than that. Just the thinking.

Reaching for my trusty friend google and lo and behold, He Needs Food has a Rose and Pistachio Biscuit Recipe and it looks precisely to my baking liking.* The pictures are gorgeous, the recipe is easy and on baking, they present beautifully. Just the thing for Mothers Day, (that’s if you weren’t already giving puffy coat hangers.)

Thanks John, cracker of a recipe.

rose and pistachio biscuits || cityhippyfarmgirl

* Except for cooking with rose water, I really am not friends with the stuff. Recipe is still great with this omission though.

 

Top 10 eco friendly ways to say I love you

10 eco friendly ways to say I love you || cityhippyfarmgirl

I was sent an email a little while ago, asking whether I would like to spruik some Valentines Day products. Although I generally feel lucky to even be asked, I did feel they hadn’t thoroughly researched their target market particularly well.

Stuffed small toys, toting love hearts, smiling bear faces and large ‘made in China’ tags, has never been my thing. Ever. It seems unlikely that’s going to change any time soon. In my eyes it also seemed unlikely that a space with the name cityhippyfarmgirl would be likely to encourage the purchase of said items, but it’s true, you don’t know unless you ask.

I did however say a polite no, and instead thought about some alternative ways to say I love you, for the most heart filled day of the year.

thinking green on valentines day || cityhippyfarmgirl

Top 10 eco friendly ways to say I love you

1/ A big beautiful bunch of kale, rosemary or any other seasonal greenery you might have in season. A bunch of red roses it isn’t- it’s better, way better!

2/ Rediscover the lost art of whispered sweet nothings.

3/ Bread. If you thought the heady combination of flour, water and salt wasn’t romantic, you haven’t thought about it in the right fashion. Soft and pillowy, rounded shaping and hot, HOT oven. (See, your loved one will be lusting after your rolls in no time.)

4/ Lingerie- If impressive underwear is your thing, take the time to research it and make it ethically made.

5/ Switch that bunch of flowers for a pot plant. Indoor, outdoor it doesn’t matter. Even if your green thumb is frequently the colour of squid ink black, a potted plant will last far longer than a bunch of flowers ever would.

succulent valentines day gift || cityhippyfarmgirl

6/ Poetry. No texting, no spell check, just a pen and some paper.

7/ Heirloom vegetable seeds, now stay with me. This is long time love. The kind where together you get to sprout those little seeds to become seedlings, and then watch them cared for, nurtured and loved as they grow, and grow. Ready to be plucked and eaten, preferably over an intimate candle lit dinner for two.

8/ A lovely bottle of organic or biodynamic local wine.

9/ A picnic. You don’t have to be a young couple to enjoy a late afternoon picnic on a grassy hill top. While couples with young kids, don’t quite get to do the gaze into each others eyes so much, kids do generally run off and leave you alone for 2.5 minutes longer than they would if you were eating dinner at home. That’s two and half minutes you could be gazing lovingly into each others eyes, or perhaps a quick pash before the kids run back and trample sand through the sandwiches again.

10/ And finally. Nothing says I love you quite like butter and sugar does, (well in this household anyway.) I have posted these biscuits before, but here is the slightly tweaked simple recipe again.)

coconut strawberry heart || cityhippyfarmgirl

Coconut Strawberry Hearts

250g softened butter

1 cup (220g) sugar

2 tsp vanilla

1 beaten egg

1/2 cup desiccated coconut

3 1/2 cups (525g) plain flour

strawberry jam

Cream butter and sugar together in a mixer until pale. Add vanilla and egg, then mix through rest of ingredients. Lightly knead biscuit dough – if mixture looks slightly too dry, knead with dampened hands. Roll biscuit dough between two sheets of baking paper to about 5mm –  Pop into the fridge for an hour or so until firm, and cut out into shapes. If the dough comes back to room temperature while you are still cutting, being tricky to handle, just pop it back into the fridge for a bit.

Bake at 170C for approximately 15-20 mins, until a very light golden colour. Allow to cool and then add half a teaspoon of strawberry jam in between the two biscuits.

finding the spirit

speculaas- cityhippyfarmgirl

Nothing says it’s nearly Christmas time, quite like belting out Wham’s Last Christmas at the top of your lungs. While big hair, eighties clothing and a snowy white landscape aren’t really necessary this year; an enthusiasm for all things just a teeny bit cheesy are. With three little people grinning from ear to ear for encouragement, I plan to quietly soak all that Christmassy spirit well and truly up.

I wasn’t going to though, well not yet anyway. It all seemed a little too early still.

However, last years advent calendar was hung, and the boys were keen for the Christmas sticks to be draped and decorated. Pre-school carols were seeping in and had a funny way of sticking in my head all day. I also couldn’t avoid the fact that everyone else was well and truly already on the Christmas wagon.

What pushed Last Christmas on to replay was the very real thought of my little people becoming big people. No longer finding it quite as exciting to decorate some fallen sticks with some brightly coloured baubles and their bunk beds with draped silvery tinsel. The excitement of seeing what might be in the advent calander in the early morning, and the planning of all the things they would do, once the Christmas holidays began. I know that contagious excitement will someday fade, as their limbs get longer and their childhood thoughts and ideas change.

So while their little dancing legs are eager, their air guitars await and theres a willingness to sing all songs Christmassy, then so will I.

And I’ll love every second of it.*

 * In the spirit of Christmas, so will all my neighbours. It’s a well known fact that Last Christmas should never be played quietly; and living in a small city apartment, well playing something with Christmas enthusiasm means everyone gets to enjoy it as well. Now THAT’S the spirit of Christmas.

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speculaas-cityhippyfarmgirl

For added Christmassy goodness, I’ve been making speculaas again. It’s been two years since the intermittent light swearing incident over the little wooden windmill and, this year I thought I’d try my luck again. Alas, still not to a standard I like, so no windmills again this year. However, the dough I’ve tweaked a little and it’s still a happy biscuit to eat.

Perfect for a little dunking, munching or sending of small parcels off to the neighbours.

Speculaas #2

150g cubed cold butter

150g brown sugar

300g plain flour

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp cardamon

2 tbls cold water

Pulse all ingredients except the cold water, until resembles bread crumbs. Turn out to a board, add the water and give a quick knead to bring it all together. You are a after a smooth dough consistency. Roll out between two sheets of baking paper and pop into the fridge to firm up (or roll into a log and freeze for a later date.) Cut out shapes and bake at 180 for 15-20 minutes.

Perfectly Pecan

cityhippyfarmgirl

Mmm, yum Anzac Biscuits…

They’re not Anzac Biscuits, I cut in with, probably a little indignantly…take another bite.

He takes another bite… Mmm, Anzac Biscuits!

Sigh. Oh forget it.

These are not Anzac Biscuits, (despite having oats and golden syrup in them) and looking a little (ahem) like them. Ground pecans is the secret ingredient here, combined with wholemeal spelt flour, and giving them a little earthier flavour. Just the thing to throw out to hungry small kids on school holidays, (who also seem to have an ever increasing appetite for…well pretty much everything.)

So if they’re not Anzac Biscuits, what do you call them?

Um…errr, um, (cough cough)… Perfectly Pecan Biscuits?

cityhippyfarmgirl

Perfectly Pecan Biscuits

200g pecans (in processor)

150 whole rolled oats

150g melted butter

100g golden syrup*

1 tsp vanilla

75g wholemeal spelt flour

In a bowl add all the dry ingredients and then also add the combined melted butter and golden syrup. Roll to a ball, and pop onto a tray. Gently flatten biscuits down and bake at 180C for about 20-25 minutes.

* These aren’t overly sweet. If you like your biscuits on the sweeter side add 50-100g of brown sugar.

a boy and some biscuits

cityhippyfarmgirl cityhippyfarmgirl cityhippyfarmgirlcityhippyfarmgirl

Mostly the small boy doesn’t like a camera pointed at him.

Mostly he runs in the opposite direction to the apparatus that is making him stay still for a full 30 seconds. He might miss out on something. Something important.

Mostly.

Then some days he just pops up. Just like that. A wriggle under the table and tahdahhh! 

What are you doing mama?…and what’s THIS?

 Oh, and I want to be in your picture.

The longing. The hunger. The puppy dog eyes.

Disappearing only once a biscuit was firmly in hand.

Back to what ever mischief was interrupted before.

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These truly were just slapped together, but as four out of five of our family members really enjoyed them I thought I would put them up. As they are super healthy and easy.

No butter, no eggs, no processed sugar, no nuts.

Honey Chia Biscuits

2 cups of whole rolled oats

4 tablespoons of chia

4 tablespoons of sunflower seeds

4 tablespoons of water

5 dessert spoons of honey*

Add water and chia together, (a gel type mass should appear pretty quickly- this helps it bind it together.) Add the rest of the ingredients with an extra 2 or so tablespoons of water and mix well. Put aside for ten or so minutes, letting the water soak in. Squish them into balls and squash them done flat on to a tray.

180C for about 20 minutes and then I turned the oven off, leaving them in.

Eat with enthusiasm and regularity.

*(swap to maple syrup if you want to vegan it up.)

double ginger bites

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doublegingerbites

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My loved grandparents came to visit… and there were Double Ginger Bites.

The girls came to visit for a little cake and coffee by candle light… and there were Double Ginger Bites.

A little Christmas package was sent…and there were Double Ginger Bites.

I was hungry, and dinner seemed like a terribly long way off…and there were Double Ginger Bites.

Double Ginger Bites

125 grams softened butter

1 cup brown sugar

1 beaten egg

2 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup golden syrup

4 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tps cardamom

3 cups plain flour

1 tsp bicarbonate soda

100g chopped uncrystalised ginger

Mix wet ingredients together. Mix dry ingredients together. Mix them all together. Knead it a little on a floured surface, mixing in the chopped ginger until you get a smooth dough. Let it rest in the fridge a bit until firm, then roll out dough 5mm thickness (or thicker if you prefer) and cut into rough squares and lay on lined baking tray.

Bake at 190C for approximately 15-20 minutes, or until light golden.

how to slam a tim tam

Sometimes life leaves you no other options.

Sometimes you just have to buy a packet of chocolate biscuits and dunk them… Sometimes these kind of things just need to be done.

Step One- Open your packet of Tim Tams.

Step Two- Nibble the opposite ends

Step Three- Dunk one of the nibbled corners into an appropriately dainty tea cup and suck.

Stop sucking when your dunking liquid of choice, goes up to the top. Inside the biscuit is now squishy and soft with the hot liquid going through it.  Quickly drop the whole biscuit into your mouth before losing it to a messy slop inside your cup.

Step Four- Smile contentedly.

Step Five- Repeat as necessary.

chocolate vanilla layer biscuits

Biscuits are handy.

They can sidetrack a hungry belly that is calling out for food.

They can quieten a noisy Monkey.

You can eat them with one hand.

They can give a subtle little sugar hit, when the search is on.

You can balance one on your nose… if you felt so inclined.

And most importantly they are really easy to make.

Chocolate Vanilla Layer Biscuits, my current favourites.

Chocolate Vanilla Layer Biscuits

250g softened butter

220g (1 cup) caster sugar

4 tsp vanilla

2 eggs

450g (3 cups) plain flour

2 1/2 tbls cocoa

Beat softened butter and sugar together until creamy looking. Add vanilla and eggs, beat until mixed well. Add the flour and mix until a dough forms. Divide the mixture in half, and add the cocoa to one of the halves. Mix it in well. Roll out mixtures seperately, between two sheets of baking paper to about 1cm thickness with a rolling pin. Pop the dough sheets in to the fridge until hardens completely.

Once hardened, take the sheets out, remove baking paper and line the two doughs on top of each other. With a sharp knife, cut through the two layers, about an inch in width. Place strips on top of remaining dough and cut again, making sure it’s the same size. Once you have the four layers, cut strips into approximately 1 cm sized thickness. Lay them on a lined baking tray, and keep going with the rest of the dough.

Bake at 180C for approximately 25 minutes.

(This recipe makes quite a few biscuits… but it does depend on how much of the dough you eat raw.)

biscuits, cookies and things to nibble

I hadn’t realised I had baked quite so many biscuits over bloggin’ time…

Custard Biscuits

Gingerbread Men

Anzac Biscuits

Lemon Vanilla Stars

Coconut Jam Drops

Everyday Chocolate Mint Biscuits

honey biscuits

Chewy Coconut Biscuits

speculaas

Chocolate Honey Biscuits

Parmesan Crackers

super easy chocolate chip biscuits

Passionfruit Shortbread

Kettles boiled… anyone want to join me for afternoon tea?

Tea or Coffee?